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Crop Watering Adjustments


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Currently, unless you're doing an extreme challenge like my snowball world, there's basically no challenge to keeping yourself fed. You can find more food than you need by wandering around, then gather seeds and grow more food than you could possibly ever use pretty easily. You can plant a huge farm field, go off on a long trip, and come back to a feast.

We also have the watering can, but it's basically useless at the moment. There's no real reason to use it when it's always possible to find plenty of water, even in a desert world, and plant crops alongside it.

To make getting and managing food just a little more challenging and meaningful, I'd like to make it so watering your crops every day is the best way to get food. Maybe we could have auto-irrigated soil if it's directly next to water, but not for 3 tiles the way it is now, and tiles irrigated in this way would be called "waterlogged" and crops on them would grow much more slowly. So if someone really doesn't want to deal with watering crops, they can make a long strip of waterlogged soil on either side of a strip of water and grow their crops that way, though it'll take much longer than it currently does. But if you water them by hand once a day, they grow much faster, so you need to balance time you spend getting food with time you spend exploring and such. And having a massive field doesn't just mean infinite food, it means more work, so there's a reason to plant fewer seeds, also making food more valuable.

Ideally, you can over-water the soil to make it "waterlogged", then it will decrease to "watered" after a day, then "moist", then "dry". Crops would grow fastest at "watered" level, slow at "waterlogged" and "moist", and not at all at "dry". After 3 days on "dry" soil, they turn "dry" then "withered" then finally dead. If you want to go on a long journey, you can either waterlog the soil and hope you get back before the crops are all dead, or only plant along water and accept the slow growth time, or you can just harvest all the crops first and put them in a cellar, so the food storage becomes really valuable instead of just a place to put all your extra food you'll never eat.

This can tie in with weather, as well. If you settle in a rainy area, you won't have to water your crops often. This means rain is an advantage, not just an annoyance. In reality, people settle in rainy areas for just this reason, and deserts are hard to live in. Of course, the difficulty here would be what happens to the crops when you're not there. They shouldn't dry out if you live in a rainy area, just because the area isn't loaded for the rain to occur - maybe the game can assign an average rainfall value for each region and use that to calculate how often it rains when you're not there and apply that to the crops when you return? But of course I don't know how it's coded or how difficult that would be to implement.

Essentially, my thought is that I'd like food and growing food to be more important. If you can easily wind up with more food than you'll ever eat, then all these beautiful crop and plant systems that are in place are meaningless within the first few game days. And I'd like for rain to be useful, not just an annoyance that puts out your torches and campfires.

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